One Nation Responds To Al Jazeera Report By Referring It To The AFP
One Nation has referred Al Jazeera to the AFP and ASIO over explosive reports senior figures in the party sought millions in funding from the NRA, claiming the publication is a "foreign agent".
The extraordinary development, first reported by The Australian, comes after Al Jazeera published evidence of One Nation party leader Steve Dickson and chief of staff James Ashby seeking $US20 million in funding from the powerful gun lobby.
"Al Jazeera are a state-owned propaganda arm of the Qatari government that supports Islamic extremist groups and are not a legitimate media organisation," a One Nation spokesperson told 10 daily.
"One Nation has asked Al Jazeera to show complete transparency and release the full context of conversations.
"The matter has been referred to ASIO and the Australian Federal Police due to concerns of foreign interference into Australian politics in the lead up to the imminent federal election."
The spokesperson described One Nation as being "targeted" by Al Jazeera (it refers to journalist Rodger Muller as a "foreign agent") due to its anti-immigration policies.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the report as "deeply concerning", reiterating his stance that Australia has no plans to weaken its gun control laws.
"Thankfully our government has also made laws to criminalise taking foreign political donations so foreign lobbyists cannot seek to influence our politics," Morrison said on Twitter.
Political donations of $1000 or more by foreign donors were banned by legislation passed under the Turnbull government in 2018.
However, these laws may not apply to parties seeking foreign funds if money was not exchanged.
Both Labor and the Greens used Tuesday's bombshell news to push for the Liberal Party to preference One Nation last in the upcoming federal election, an issue reportedly fracturing the party.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten told Morrison to "show leadership" on the issue.
"What else do you need before you do the right thing?" he tweeted.
Greens Senator Mehreen Feruqi took it further, saying the Al Jazeera report should serve as a "dire warning" for Australians concerned about gun control.
"We have become a little complacent about gun control in Australia and there are people and political parties like One Nation who are trying to take advantage of that," Faruqi, who is also gun control spokesperson for the Greens, said in a statement.
However, the government is so far refusing to publicly comment. Speaking to the ABC's Sabra Lane on Tuesday morning, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham wouldn't answer a direct question on One Nation referencing, but said Australians "ought to reject extremism in all forms".
"Pauline Hanson should clearly front the cameras today," Birmingham said.
"She should explain whether or not she was truly seeking an amazing $20 million in foreign donations to One Nation [and] whether or not she actually believes we should be weakening Australia's gun laws."
He added that the party "appear[s] to be a risk to our foreign donation law bans."
Al Jazeera's investigation -- the culmination of three years work -- tracked One Nation figures, Ashby and Dickson, as they travelled to Washington DC to meet with powerful gun lobby groups, including the NRA.
The pair were caught on hidden camera telling NRA officials that $US 20 million would allow a political party to "own the Lower House and the Upper House".
Dickson warned officials "if [Australia didn't] change things", people in the US would believe it was "okay for them to go down the path of not having guns".
"And it's like a poison. It will poison us all unless we stop it."
Meanwhile, Mark Latham -- newly elected to the NSW Upper House under a One Nation ticket -- praised New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern as recently as last week for bringing in gun laws "into line with Australia".
"Due to 1996 [John] Howard laws our country has been blessed to avoid public massacres for 23 years," Latham tweeted.
"These laws also respect the rights of law-abiding recreational shooters. NSW One Nation supports them 100 percent."
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